A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.
– Albert Einstein
Nature’s logical voice provides tangible labels, judgments, facts, analyses, and opinions about a pattern in nature. It is a voice that speaks with lists, numbers and computer simulations. It asks about such things as size, habitat, movements, and chemical makeup.
Nature’s analytical voice communicates patterns such as the center a sunflower where the florets are laid out in a definite geometric order. The angle between one floret and its outbound neighbor along a spiral, is a constant angle of 137.51 degrees. This empirical observation leads to questions (and further research) about why this arrangement exists. In fact, we find that this and other spiral arrangements are ubiquitous in nature. We see spirals in sea shells, sheep horns, strawberries, and pine cones – to name a few.
This process of exploration and discovery can become a stunning synthesis of the aesthetic, the spiritual, and the ideas of modern science. The analytical has a strangely spiritual component to its voice as it defines factual unities amongst seemingly diverse patterns in nature. There are similar patterns of order, symmetry, self similarity, self organization, Fibonacci numbers, scaling patterns, and networks across widely diverse natural objects. Almost always, these logical sequences produce patterns that have a strong aesthetic appeal as well. Fractal images, for example. What is quite surprising is that many of these unities work in harmony with each other. They are interrelated.
So, nature’s analytical voice can express, in quantitative terms, the harmony and the interrelationships that are communicated by nature’s aesthetic and spiritual voices.
The next and final post in this series on Nature’s voices summarizes these ideas. Please feel free to comment.
My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.